24 dead, 217 missing in Philippine ferry disaster

At least 24 people died and 217 others are missing after a ferry in the Philippines collided with a cargo ship and sank, the coastguard said Saturday.

The Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying 870 people when it quickly went under following the collision near the port of Cebu, the Philippines' second biggest city, at 9:00 pm (1300 GMT) on Friday.

The coastguard headquarters in Manila said at 8:40 am (0040 GMT) on Saturday that 629 people had been rescued, 57 more than a few hours earlier.

However 217 others were still missing, and 24 bodies had been retrieved, according to an official at the coastguard's operations centre.